KARACHI: Sindh government has decided to build a new storm-water drain to combat urban flooding, which has almost become a regular feature in the metropolis during monsoon rains, according to officials.

They said on Thursday the decision was taken at a meeting convened to mull over the measures for protecting vulnerable neighbourhoods in the teeming megacity from flooding.

Officials said the meeting presided over by Sindh Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah decided to build the new storm-water drain and rehabilitate the existing Mehran drain to save residential areas like Saadi Town and other low-lying areas on the outskirts of the city.

The meeting was informed that monsoon rains in the city itself together with rainwater that flowed down mountains routinely caused flooding every year. During rains, the participants were told, water coming from Lath Dam used to discharge into Malir River through Mehran storm-water drain but the construction of M-9 Motorway, and certain residential projects over the natural route of the rainwater and Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s failure to carry out the drain’s cleaning had created hurdles to the flow of the rainwater.

“As a result,” the meeting was told, “all this contributes to urban flooding during monsoon rains”.

In view of the situation, the meeting decided to construct the new 3.5km-long storm-water drain and rehabilitate the existing Mehran drain by removing illegal constructions and encroachments from its bed.

The chief secretary directed deputy commissioner of Malir to demolish illegal constructions and encroachments on Mehran drain and constituted a committee of officials drawn from irrigation department, KMC and cantonment boards to prepare a feasibility report and submit its PC-I within 30 days.

When the meeting was informed that K-Electric’s KDA grid station faced threat of flooding during last monsoon rains, the chief secretary asked the power company to formulate a plan for the protection of its installations and share the same with the Sindh government.

Shah directed the officers concerned to write a letter to the National Highway Authority, urging it to widen the culverts under the Motorway.

The deputy commissioner of the district concerned, representative of K-Electric, director general of Provincial Disaster Management Authority, officials of the irrigation department and the Army Engineering Corps attended the meeting.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2020